Armenian National Congress (ANC) party issued a statement on March 6, 2020 by which it called upon the “Yes” campaign office headquarters to take urgent measures to correct errors in organizing the Referendum on the Constitutional change. ANC has endorsed the “Yes” campaign at the referendum.
The statement refers to the lists of Election Committees published on March 5, which include lots of names of organizers of past fraudulent elections. Earlier, Mihran Mkhitaryan, a former oppositional member of Election Committees, raised an alarm that for years he was fighting during elections against committee members rigging the elections and now, he sees the same names in the composition of the new election committees. Mihran Mkhitaryan spotted about 500 former members now representing the “Yes” camp at the election committees. He also warned of repeated names where the same person acts as a Chairperson of a committee for “Yes”, while they act as a secretary for “No.”
Armenian National Congress believes that these mistakes are due to the government’s slowness, inconsistency and inconfidence in making radical restructuring of democratic institusions such as the Election Commission. ANC notes that the changes to the Election Code promised in June 2018 failed, did not come to discussions even after the Parliamentary elections in December 2018. Not drastically changing the composition of election commissions, “leaving protection of democracy to election riggers like Tigran Mukuchyan and the like in central and regional election commissions”, has created a dismal situation.
The election committee lists should have been cleaned, criminal liability should have been brought against riggers of elections, the evidence of which exists, states ANC.
Similar concerns are expressed by the independent election observing coalition. “Independent observer” initiative uniting NGOs and individuals observing elections in Armenia, warns that while there are no legal obstructions to enlisting past organizers of elections in the new election committees (if they are not charged for an offence), the public perception is tilted towards distrusting them.
According to the law on Referenda and Election Code, each camp of the Referendum has a right to appoint by 2 members, 3 members are appointed by regional election committees.
ANC fears that representatives of forces specialized in rigging elections have united around the “No” camp in election committees with 5 representatives against 2 from “Yes”. ANC calls on the “Yes” campaign to take urgent measures to ensure equal representation of members at the committees.